Cider’s had a varied reputation over the years. For me, it was the first alcoholic drink I started drinking regularly (42p a half down The George in Wanstead in 1985 when I was 15 [ssh, don’t tell my mum]). After my early years of drinking sweet Woodpecker underage in the pub, I progressed onto what I thought were more sophisticated dry ciders such as Diamond White and Merrydown (okay, I only drank Merrydown to get hammered, like everyone else, but Diamond White and Merrydown came in glass bottles and not tins, so I thought they were posh). But apart from cider being the tipple of teenagers, other images conjured up by cider drinkers are:
a) The Wurzels (if you don’t know who they are, they had a hit with ‘I Am A Cider Drinker’ in 1976 – check out the video here – which they inexplicably updated in 2007 with a new video featuring Tony Blackburn; and b) homeless people clutching 2-litre plastic bottles of strong cider, usually containing ‘White’ in its name.
Then cider reinvented itself, becoming no longer just for underage girls, scruffy country bumpkins masquerading as popstars and homeless people (oh, and my friend Gary). Cider got trendy and started appearing in bars and supermarkets in flavours other than apple (much to the horror and disgust of my friend Gary who believes cider should only – with the exception of perry – be apple-flavour). Now you can get cider in all kinds of flavours such as toffee apple, strawberry & lime, and mixed fruit. However, most of the flavoured ciders you can buy in shops and bars are mass-produced and full of chemicals, flavourings and not much fruit content. Crafty Nectar wanted to offer people something different and created a way to bring traditionally made, artificial-flavouring-free and high-juice-content cider to cider-lovers everywhere. They source each cider on their website from small, independent producers and deliver it straight to your door – whether it’s a gift, a one-off order or a monthly subscription. Not only are their ciders high in juice content and artificial-flavouring-free, they’re also gluten-free and suitable for vegans and vegetarians.
Crafty Nectar sent me a box of three ciders to try, along with tasting notes telling me about the cider and what food it goes with. I’m going to be honest here and say I haven’t actually tried any of them yet because I broke my foot three weeks ago and I’m abstaining while it heals (although the ciders look so gorgeous, I think my abstinence will be put on hold at the weekend). But I can show you what they look like and tell you all about them.
Angioletti – Rosé – 4% ABV
Man, I want to try this so badly. I mean, rosé with blueberry? This is right up my cidery street and I want to drink this in the garden on a hot summer’s day. But, alas – it’s March in the UK and there was snow last week and now it’s raining and the heating’s been on since October so, sod summer, this’ll do indoors on a cold night instead. This Italian craft cider is made in the same way as Prosecco but using apples and blueberry instead of grapes. Crafty Nectar says it’s good with dishes such as roast peach, basil and buffalo mozzarella salad but I think Crafty Nectar may have had too much of their own cider because… roast peach in a salad? Really?
West Milton Cider Co – Lancombe Rising – 5% ABV
Lancombe Rising is a naturally sparkling cider made using the ancient art of Keeving, which produces a full-flavoured fermentation. This award-winning cider goes well with seitan and Linda McCartney Quarterpounders (okay, the tasting notes said red meats like beef, but this is a veggie blog so seitan and LM burgers it is).
Kentish Pip – Wild Summer Elderflower – 4% ABV
I made elderflower champagne a couple of years ago with elderflowers from the garden. I was too scared to drink it though as I had a three-week hangover just from giving it a sniff. But I do love elderflower drinks so I’m looking forward to trying this Wild Summer Elderflower cider from Kentish Pip. It’s infused with pollen and nectar from wild elderflowers picked on their farm and the surrounding countryside. Doesn’t that sound beautifully bucolic? Crafty Nectar says it’s fantastic with a picnic or with soft vegetable dishes like roast squash, aubergine or pumpkin. Yes to all of the above please.
This is just a tiny selection of the cider Crafty Nectar has to offer. As the UK’s 1st craft cider subscription box company, you can have a box sent to your door or desk each month containing either 6 (the Taster box) or 12 (the Discovery box) different and unique craft ciders. You don’t have to get a subscription though; you can pick and mix or send a gift or you can win a Discovery box of 6 ciders in my giveaway below!
Giveaway – Win a Crafty Nectar Cider Discovery Box
I’m offering one reader of Planet Veggie the chance to win a Discovery box of 6 craft ciders from Crafty Nectar. Just enter via the Rafflecopter widget below. Good luck! If you don’t win, or can’t wait to find out if you have won, Planet Veggie readers can use the code ‘CRAFTY10’ for 10% off all subscriptions and cider gifts. Click here to be taken to the Crafty Nectar website where 10% will be applied at checkout.
Thanks to Crafty Nectar for sending me some cider to review and for supplying the prize.